The Girl From Shadow Springs by Ellie Cypher

Book Blurb:

The Revenant meets True Grit with a magical twist in this thrilling and atmospheric debut fantasy about two teens who must brave a frozen wasteland and the foes within it to save their loved ones and uncover a deadly secret.

Everyone in Shadow Springs knows that no one survives crossing the Flats. But the threat of a frozen death has never deterred the steady stream of treasure hunters searching for a legendary prize hidden somewhere in the vast expanse of ice. Jorie thinks they’re all fools, which makes scavenging their possessions easier. It’s how she and her sister, Brenna, survive.

Then Jorie scavenges off the wrong body. When the dead man’s enemy believes Jorie took something valuable from the body, he kidnaps Brenna as collateral. He tells Jorie that if she wants her sister back, she’ll have to trade her for the item he thinks she stole. But how can Jorie make a trade when she doesn’t even know what she’s looking for?

Her only source of information is Cody, the dead man’s nephew and a scholar from the South who’s never been hardened by the harsh conditions of the North. Though Jorie’s reluctant to bring a city boy out onto the Flats with her, she’ll do whatever it takes to save her sister. But anything can happen out on the ice, and soon Jorie and Cody find they need one another more than they ever imagined—and they’ll have to trust each other to survive threats beyond their darkest nightmares.

I received this book from NetGalley for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

Rayleigh’s Review:

A girl hardened by the harsh wilds of Shadow Springs and a boy softened by life in the South are forced together by a common need to avenge a loved one, each bringing their own strengths to the adventure… and weaknesses.

The Girl From Shadow Springs is the type of book you read curled up on your couch snuggled in millions of blankets as a blizzard swirls around outside (for the full effect, of course). Which is–surprising for this Texan–exactly how I read this book. I have Jorie and Cody to thank for keeping me sane during the Texas Blizzard of 2021, and for reminding me exactly why I’ve chosen to reside in Texas and not some harsh North controlled by a Winter Witch *winks*.

Jorie and Cody were an entertaining duo to say the least. Jorie– almost never willing to “lighten up”–and Cody–being a really spunky and adorable guy–had simply amusing interactions the entire time. They are polar opposites, but naturally, we know that opposites attract so it’s easy to root for them.

The story is nonstop dilemma and problem as Jorie and Cody travel further and further into the unforgiving North. There’s always an element of suspense to keep you turning the pages, and though some of the storyline was predictable (for me), there were other things that kept it fresh and exciting. The only thing that I *almost* didn’t like was how the book was written in Jorie’s uneducated slang. Until I was used to it (about halfway through the book), I could NOT turn off my inner editor and the way Jorie spoke drove me crazy (if I ever see “weren’t” used like that again, I shall scream!). However, the writing style in Jorie’s voice is really what created the authenticity of her gruff and rough demeanor, making The Girl From Shadow Springs what it is. Without Jorie’s narration, I feel like this would have been an entirely different book. And even though Jorie’s way of narrating shows her tough lifestyle, the book never felt improperly edited; it was handled professionally, so in the end, it didn’t bother me.

So, overall, I enjoyed The Girl From Shadow Springs and recommend it to fantasy lovers who would like more of a survivalist story, rather than a quest-like story. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Content Disclaimers (some may consider these SPOILERS, proceed with caution): No sexual content and honestly, no romance. Some hints at attraction though. Cursing is limited to phrases like “she cursed under breath” and the characters use their own invented slang words. Action/gore can be detailed at times, but I wouldn’t rate it above a PG-13 level.

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